Kicking Against the Goads

“And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.'”

Acts 26:14 (ESV)

def goad: a spiked stick used for driving cattle.

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There are times in my life that I feel God guiding me in a certain direction.

Perhaps a set of circumstances seems to limit my options or maybe even land me flat on my back for a few weeks. Other times I notice a message on Facebook, in God’s Word, when a friend calls me, or in a conversation – a repeated message that I cannot shake. And I know God is giving me direction, guidance.

But sometimes I don’t want to go the way He is guiding.

In fact there are times I would rather cut myself deep on the goads God is using to move me along rather than go with Him. I would rather wound myself than walk a path designed by my Creator – a path that He guarantees will be for my good even if it is full of difficulties.

I would rather cling to my sin than allow God to refine me.

I prefer dysfunctional relationships rather than doing the work of restoration.

And in the process I grow calloused to my own sin, wounded by my own refusal to follow God.

There Jesus stood in front of Saul – a man kicking hard against the direction God was calling him to go. Jesus stood in front of Saul and full of mercy and grace said, “…It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” When Jesus could have condemned Saul for refusing to be led by God, He instead sympathized with him. Wayward ones, He is standing before us with kindness in His eyes waiting for us to follow His guidance.

Can you see the kindness of God calling to all of us who are kicking against His goads? He is gently saying there is a better way. Trust Me. Follow my guidance. I can’t guarantee it won’t be painful, but it will be worth it.

Father God, we thank You for your mercy and grace when we kick against Your goads. Forgive us for wanting our way over Yours. Lord we believe that You have good plans for us. We trust that You can and will work all things together for our good. Lord fill us with Your Spirit that we may follow You all the days of our lives. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.